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HP 49g...dedication necessary.
Posted by Josh (USA) on 25 Feb 2002, 1:59 p.m.
I've owned an hp 49g for about six months. Prior to that, I was a solid hp 48g user. I've heard of numerous bad experiences with the 49g, but hopefully this will take a second look at a calculator which certainly deserves such. I am in the engineering industry, and this machine is invaluable in my work. In symbolic operations, and speedwise, the 49g completely destroys the 48g series.
First off, I won't even try to defend the manual. It is not quite useless, but nearly so. If you want to get acquainted with the machine, you are best off reading a manual for an hp 48g/+/x series calculator, since the commands largely carry over. The buttons take some getting used to, but they do break in with moderate use, and I've since gotten used to the new keyboard layout.
A few tips for new (or not new) 49g users: *Use the 49g in rpn mode. That's where it shines. *Get (or if you're adventurous, make) a pc link cable. *Upgrade to the latest BETA ROM. At the time that this is being written, that is release 19-6. Hp doesn't support it, but it fixes almost every bug I've come across, and adds a help function for a lot of commands, right in the calculator. The Beta Rom has not caused any problems in the 4+ months I've used it. *visit http://www.hpcalc.org. The ultimate online resource. If you want to learn to program the hp49, you need to stop in here. *PLAY, PLAY, PLAY! I learn to use it a little at a time, mostly as I need to work with new commands. This is where the manuals can be of some help. If you look up a specific command, you can generally find out some useful details on how to use it. *Talk to other users (this can be hard, since hardcore hp users are few and far between). Online forums are generally the best bet. *Take advantage of it's strengths. If you don't know how to use the equation editor, you need to learn. Use the numeric and symbolic solvers. SUBST does the same thing as ISOL, only better. *Which brings me to another point. For most mathmatical operations, there are several different algorithms. I know of at least two different ways to integrate, differentiate, symbolicly isolate a variable, solve a linear system of equations, etc...Look for these multiple routes to the answer. In most cases, one is more reliable.
A lot of time went into developing this machine, and I can confidently say that I have not learned half of the intricacies about it. Patience and time...
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